National Roofing Legal Resource Center

Department of Labor increases civil penalties

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced increases in civil penalties for several agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Congress mandated this action in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 as one of many "revenue raisers" used to offset expanded government spending on defense and nondefense programs. The law requires federal agencies with civil monetary penalties to update penalty amounts based on inflation and also requires agencies to adjust the penalties annually in the future based on changes in inflation.

On June 30, DOL announced two interim final rules--the first addresses penalties assessed by OSHA, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, Wage and Hour Division, and other agencies, and the second addresses penalties associated with the H-2B temporary worker program. Previously, OSHA civil penalties were exempt from inflation adjustments applicable to most other federal agencies and had been adjusted for inflation only once when Congress made a one-time adjustment in 1990. Under DOL's interim final rule, OSHA civil penalties will increase 78 percent--the top penalty for serious violations increased from $7,000 to $12,471, and the maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations increased from $70,000 to $124,709.

The new amounts will be applicable to penalties assessed after Aug. 1, 2016, for associated violations that occurred after Nov. 2, 2015. Receipts from these penalties will go to the U.S. general treasury and not to the individual agency budgets. More details about the new rule can be found on DOL's website by clicking here.


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